RICKMON SENTENCED TO LIFE WITHOUT PAROLE

April 22, 2015 

(Walhalla, SC). Wilbur A. Rickmon was found guilty of Criminal Sexual Conduct, 1st Degree and Kidnapping today by an Oconee County jury. Due to Rickmon’s violent criminal history, the State sought and the defendant received a life without parole sentence from the Honorable Lawton McIntosh. 

 

On September 27, 2013, Wilbur Rickmon called a neighbor multiple times and asked if she could help him with accessing the wifi internet at his house. Once inside the residence where the defendant was staying, Rickmon lured the victim to the bedroom under the guise of repairing the wifi connection, when, in fact, there was no wifi at the location.  He had locked the front door and closed the door when they entered the bedroom. The defendant then offered the victim $50 for sex. She refused. Rickmon threw her on the bed, pinned her down and raped her. After the assault, the victim was able to escape and ran from the house and called 911. The victim was taken to Oconee Medical Center where a sexual assault kit was performed. A court order was obtained to collect DNA swabs from the defendant. SLED test results were positive for the defendant’s DNA. The victim’s underwear was recovered in the bedroom where the assault took place. This case was investigated by the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office who obtained 3 conflicting statements from the defendant about the events that happened the day of the assault.  

 

“Wilbur Rickmon is a violent criminal with a history that dates back to the 80’s,” stated Solicitor Chrissy Adams. “Due to the victim’s courage and the hard work of the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office, Rickmon received the sentence that he deserved today.”    

SEX OFFENDER SENTENCED TO 22 YEARS

 

(Anderson, SC).  Jonathan Manuel Shore pled guilty today in Anderson General Sessions Court to one count of Criminal Sexual Conduct with a Minor 2nd degree and one count of Lewd Act on a Minor. The Honorable Letitia Verdin sentenced Shore to the maximum of 20 years on the Criminal Sexual Conduct Charge and 8 years suspended to 2 years prison time with 5 years probation on the Lewd act on a minor charge. The 20 years and 2 years are to be served consecutively. The defendant will be placed on the sex offender registry.  

 

Between February of 2011 and January of 2014, Shore engaged in a pattern of sexually abusing one of the victims in this case. This victim was between the ages of 11 and 13 at the time. Shore also committed a lewd act on a second victim, 4 year old child in 2013. Both victims gave details of the defendant’s acts during forensic exams.  

 

“These children have lived through horrific acts that no child should ever have to endure,” stated Solicitor Chrissy Adams. “Thanks to the hard work of the Anderson City Police Department and the Foothills Child Advocacy Center, justice was served today, and hopefully will give the victims the closure they so rightfully deserve."

 

SECURITY OFFICER SENTENCED TO 30 MONTHS IN PRISON

April 13, 2015

 

(Anderson, SC.) Joey Ryan Johnson, Jr. pled guilty today to Involuntary Manslaughter. The Honorable Letitia Verdin sentenced Johnson to 30 months in prison. 

 

On July 27, 2013, the defendant was working for a security company at Marvon’s Place on the Hwy 28 Bypass. A fight began in the club and several people were required to leave. While escorting those people out of the club and into the parking lot, someone informed security that they had seen a gun. Johnson stated later that the truck which was driven by India Lomax veered toward him and he shot in self-defense. Evidence recovered from the scene, as well as video surveillance, indicate that this was not the case and that the shooting was unjustified.

SOLICITOR CHRISSY ADAMS RELEASES STATEMENT IN TUCKER HIPPS INVESTIGATION

March 31, 2015

In response to recent media inquiries, 10th Circuit Solicitor Chrissy Adams releases the following information:


The Oconee County Sheriff’s Office, along with the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED), has been investigating the death of Tucker Hipps since September 22, 2014.  The investigation revealed that 30 students affiliated with Sigma Phi Epsilon went on a group run at approximately 5:30 AM the morning of September 22, 2014.  The students left Donaldson Hall and ran toward Fike Recreation Center on Heisman Street.  They then turned right on Williamson Road and then proceeded to take a left on Highway 93.  The run continued down Highway 93 facing traffic and across the bridge from Pickens County to Oconee County.  The group ran single file while on the bridge.  The group turned around slightly after the bridge and returned to Donaldson Hall along the same route initially travelled.  The run lasted less than thirty minutes.  Upon realizing that no one saw Tucker Hipps return from the run and his absence at breakfast, the group began conducting their own search for him.  Tucker Hipps was not reported missing to law enforcement until around 1 PM.  Tucker Hipps’ body was eventually found in Lake Hartwell under the Oconee County side of the bridge headfirst in rocky, shallow water. 


Over these past months, the Oconee Sheriff’s Office and SLED have interviewed and re-interviewed potential witnesses, reviewed videos from Clemson University and from businesses along the route of the run as well as phone records/text messages from multiple individuals.  Every possible explanation for Tucker Hipps’ tragic death has been explored. An expert forensic pathologist has also been consulted in order to determine what kind of event would have resulted in Tucker Hipps’ injuries.   


All students on the run are claiming that they have no knowledge of how Tucker Hipps could have fallen to his death and that no one saw Tucker Hipps go off the bridge and fall to his death.  The Oconee County Sheriff’s Department and SLED have worked diligently and have exhausted all leads that have been received as of this date.  Law enforcement is at a standstill and unable to go forward until such time that additional credible leads are received and can be investigated.  Therefore, the Oconee County Sheriff's Office has assigned this case to its unsolved crimes investigation unit. 


Anyone with information is urged to call Crime Stoppers at 1-888-CRIME-SC or those who wish to speak directly with an investigator can call the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office at 864-718-1052. All calls will remain anonymous and confidential.  


All FOIA requests relating to this investigation should be sent to the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office.


"Tucker Hipps’ death is a terrible tragedy,” stated Solicitor Adams.  “This young man will not, and must not be forgotten. His family deserves answers. His family and those who knew and loved him deserve to know the circumstances surrounding his untimely death.  I can only hope and pray that anyone with information will find the strength to come forward, for the sake of the family and in Tucker's memory."